Note to the reader: This story features a fair amount of gay sex, strictly between the narrator, Josh, and his friend David. This was necessary due to the plot of this story. It is not actually about a gay boy at all, but about uniquely fortunate Josh (or unfortunate, as the case may be), who falls in love with David and, over the course of two nights spent with David in his basement bedroom, discovers how cruelly miserable life can be—and how wonderful. Neither is ready for what happens to Josh in the aftermath of those two nights.
Those of you who love a good romance will enjoy this story despite its gay elements. Josh is as likeable a person as can be. I won't give away the ending; I'll only tell you that it's worth enduring the gay subject matter if you are heterosexual. (As I am, more or less.) The key is in the title of the story.
This story starts in the basement of my friend David's house. It's where I was born. In truth, it started a bit before that, so I'll regress, just enough to fill in the blanks a little for you, make it less confusing.
David, Jack, Jerry and I were all 15. We all lived on the same street, all attended the same school, all hung out to the exclusion of anyone else. Jack was my best friend; Jerry lived next door to me; David lived across the court from Jack. We walked to school in the morning and walked home in the afternoon. We mostly hung out at Jack's house as a group, in his bedroom, or down in David's basement, which doubled as his bedroom. When we weren't together as a group, I was usually with Jack. It had always been that way.
"We doing it then?" Jack asked. It was Friday afternoon; we were on the way home from school. None of us drove, none of us were old enough yet. Within the next six months, three of us would have our licenses. One of us wouldn't, though. One of us wouldn't exist.
David nodded. "Dad said no, but Mom had already said yes, so he was shit outta luck. We gotta worry about him pissing all over our parade though. You know what a grouch he can be. I'll be lucky if he doesn't—"
At that moment, we were walking alongside the creek. Where the creek ran under Jeremy Road, the road was buttressed either side by a concrete arch, with concrete wings running away at 450 angles. David had climbed onto the top of the wing our side of the creek to walk along its spine, and not paying attention the way he should, his foot slipped and he lost his balance. Before any of us could react, he was teetering on the edge, wind-milling his arms, crying "Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!" and trying not to fall the ten feet into the water and the dangerous rocks. He'd already lost his backpack to the creek; he was in danger of following it in.
Just as he started to topple I grabbed him by his shirt-sleeve, and nearly went over myself. Jerry and Jack grabbed us both, probably saving one or the other of our lives; but when David came down atop me next to the wing, he jammed his foot into an erosion hole and broke his leg. He screamed so loud, people a block away ran out of their houses.
"You sure you want to do this?" I asked. It was a week later, and David had his foot up on a plastic milk crate. His leg was in a thick cast up to the knee; he had broken it in two places. He was lucky it hadn't been a compound fracture.
"Yeah, man, I want to do it," he said. We were all in his basement. It was quarter to five and me and Jerry and Jack were ready to head home. The previous weekend had been a bust, but Saturday night we planned to camp out in David's basement bedroom.
Jack asked doubtfully: "Are you planning on coming?"
David shook his head, repositioned his leg, which he said still hurt like a bitch if he didn't get it just right. I'd broken my arm once, had it in a cast for six weeks, but, other than itch, it hadn't bothered me after the first day. I guess it's a lot different when you have to walk on the break, or in David's case, hobble around on crutches. He couldn't go anyway, except in a car or with two of us helping him up and down steps. I was surprised, then, that he wanted to do the sleepover anyway.
"No reason you guys can't have fun," he muttered. I could see he was in pain, wanted to do something to make it better for him, but also didn't want to because that would look queer. Not looking queer is more important to a guy than not being a good friend sometimes. Besides, I didn't even like David that much.
The way it worked, Jack and I were best friends. We hung out with David and Jerry because we were the only four guys our age on the block. And because Jerry lived next to me, and because David was our age and lived right across the street from Jack. I liked Jerry better than I did David, who was something of a stuck-up-convinced that he was better than us prick; but I hung out with Jack more than I hung out with anyone else. I never hung out with David by myself. I sometimes hung out with Jerry, because he lived next to me. It sounds pretty stupid, but there you go.
Jack leaned back in the chair, put his leg over one of the arms. "I'm not crazy about leaving you here. It's not fair. But I want to get out tomorrow night," he said.
We all knew there was a sleepover at Sheila Nelson's house. She didn't live that far away, and Jack wanted to try and crash the party because he was hot for Kristen Burke, one of the girl's sleeping over. I knew David liked Beth Anderson, but there was no way he was going anywhere tomorrow night. Jerry could care less. Jerry was no more interested in girls—that we could tell, anyway—than he was in algebra. Not that he was queer. He was no more queer than Jack was. He just didn't show any interest in girls. Maybe because he was Jewish.
The problem was, I was scared shitless of girls. I'd never been on a date, and I'd only kissed two girls in my life. One of those was a girl I had met at a dance; the other was Sheila Nelson's friend, Katie. I'd heard Katie hadn't cared for kissing me. I wasn't surprised by that. I'd been very intimidated. So the idea of crashing a sleepover at Sheila Nelson's house, being around all those girls, many of whom would welcome the distraction of guys crashing their sleepover, made my palms itch and my underarms sweat. I cringed, just thinking about it. Jack was gung ho to go; Jerry was dispassionate; David would be angry not to go.
David, grumpy and obviously unhappy with what he had to say next, said, "I need one of you here to stay with me tomorrow night. I know, I know," he said, raising his hand defensively. "I know my mom. She's going to pester me all damned night about my leg." The last time we'd done this, back during the summer, we'd been out for six hours without getting caught. We'd been counting on that tomorrow night. At least, Jack had. David went on. "Mom will get up and check on me two or three times during the night. She won't come down, not after ten o'clock or so when she knows were dug in and maybe doing guy shit—" David grinned. He liked doing guy shit ... But once we're asleep, she'll come down to check on me. I know she will." He rearranged his foot again. "In a way, it's good. It means two of you can get away before we could have earlier. Like as early as eleven, maybe. Me and whoever it is will stay up as long as we can to give you guys time to get into the party and have a good time and then get back. Mom won't come down as long as we're awake. But one of you has to be here with me, for Mom to hear and to help pretend all of us are here. Otherwise, we're gonna get busted, man."
Logic like that couldn't be argued with. Jack did anyway, trying every idea he could to get around David's argument. Finally he gave in, especially when it became clear that he was trying to strand David here at home. Then the only question was, who would stay.
"I will," I said, jumping in ahead of Jerry. Jack jumped to disagree, but backed off because he knew arguing would just make him look like more of an asshole. He was disappointed though, no doubt about that. He wanted me along, his best friend, even if I was a hindrance around girls. Jerry didn't look too happy about it himself. The thing was, Jerry, for all his disinterest, would not make anyone uncomfortable from being around. Feeling no interest from him, girls tended to be comfortable around him. And so it was set.
I spent the next afternoon with Jack, met up with Jerry at 5 o'clock--Jerry was Jewish, but his family was no more devout as Jews than mine were as Catholics--and we headed down to David's house. I had never seen Jerry wear a yarmulke, miss anything because of the Sabbath, nor have to be in at sundown on a Friday night. As far as I knew, his parents didn't even attend temple on Saturdays. (They would later; the whole family becoming more devout, though I never knew the reason why.) His sister Susan and his brother Nathan were the same way.
We went to dinner as a group, Mr. and Mrs. Cullen buying. It was only the Bob Evan's in town, but it was the first time Dave's mom and dad had ever done anything like that. I'd had dinner at David's sure, just like he'd had dinner at my house. But climbing in the family car--a Dodge Caravan—and heading out to eat was decidedly different. In the dining room, Dave's mom chattered on while Dave's dad spoke only when asking for salt or a napkin.
.... There is more of this story ...